Missouri is trying to get a grip on its healthcare worker shortage by offering a new paid apprenticeship program. The Missouri Chamber Foundation has launched the program – with the help of more than $4.3 million in federal funding.

Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the goal is to offer paid training to about 1,500 healthcare workers by 2026.

“It’s really part of the strategy that we have to address the workforce issues throughout the state of Missouri,” Mehan told Missourinet. “And it’s critical in healthcare, with healthcare being 20% to 25% of our economy for one. And these needs, the demand for healthcare workers is outstripping the supply right now.”

Through the program, a wide variety of paid healthcare apprenticeships is available. Employers participating in the program will receive $2,000 for each apprentice they train in occupations such as:

• Medical assistant
• Surgical technician
• Pharmacy technician
• Phlebotomist
• Certified nursing assistant
• Medical coder
• Biomedical equipment technician
• Dental assistant
• Radiology/CT technician

Mehan said the paid apprenticeships could result in good-paying jobs.

“We’re hearing a wide range,” he said. “But it’s not uncommon to go through the program and be able to pull down a $60,000 salary range and up it’s definitely worthy careers that you can make a good living at.”

Mehan said the new program is modeled after the Chamber’s IT apprenticeship program.

“Which has been extremely successful,” he said. “And we use that model of going directly to the employers as a way to drive efficiency and really speed in getting people placed. And the retention rates so far is off the charts. It’s like 96% or more.”

Health care systems participating in the program include BJC HealthCare, CoxHealth, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Mercy and University Health.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.